Amended tenancy law gives respite to job losers

The recently amended tenancy law in Sharjah has helped a number of residents who wanted to terminate their tenancy contracts and leave the country.


Afkar Ali Ahmed

Published: Thu 28 Jan 2010, 1:17 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:39 PM

The amendmentbecamehelpful to those who wanted to leave the country afterbeing sacked from their jobs or their businesses collapsed in the financial downturn.

The law that regulates the relationship between the landlord and the tenant in the emirate was amended on January 19 by Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah.

The amendment provides that if the tenant is forced to vacate the unit before the term of the tenancy contract ends due to circumstances beyond his control, he/she can do so after paying the landlord 30 per cent of the rent amount for the remaining months.

If there is any dispute, the tenant must prove before the rent dispute settlement committee of the municipality that there are compelling circumstances for him to end the contract midway through the lease period.

The tenant will have to pay the landlord this amount in cash or by cheque with the date of the dispute settlement. The landlord can refuse to take any post-dated cheque.

If the landlord is requesting termination of the lease, the tenant should be given sufficient time, which will be determined by the committee after taking into account the conditions of the tenant.

A member of the rent dispute settlement committee who requested not to be named said the law has been amended six times since 1977 and will be amended again if required, as the municipality’s main objective is ensure justice for both tenants and landlords.

The decision to amend the law was taken following a number of complaints were filed with the committee after expatriate residents wanted to end their tenancy contracts due to the tough financial circumstances. The new amendment addresses the circumstance the two parties — the landlord and the tenant, the member said.

Mohammed Hyder, a Pakistani expatriate who had been working as marketing and sales representative in one of the national banks, said his service was terminated by his bank on account of cost cutting just a month after he had moved into a new apartment in Al Majaz area with his family.

“When I informed the landlord, he refused to allow me to leave and asked me to pay the rent for the whole year. He didn’t even allow me to sell my furniture. I had to approach the rent dispute settlement committee, which suspended the case until the law was issued. Finally, I got justice. I am now prepared to leave the country on January, 29”

Joe Hossey, who owned an agency doing promotional souvenirs in Sharjah, said, “I had to prove that my business had failed due to the current economic situation. I showed the landlord and the committee the cancellation of my business licence and other documents. The landlord first tried to force me to pay the rent for the remaining seven months in the contract. Otherwise, he wanted me bring someone else to occupy the office until the end of the contract.

“I paid him 30 per cent of the rent for the seven months as determined by the committee following the amendment of the tenancy law. I thank the Sharjah government for amending the law considering the current situation which has forced many people to leave the country for good.”

Sudanese national Rughaya Mahjoub, who was sacked from her position as secretary at a real estate company, said her landlord asked her to pay the rent for eight months remaining in the contract or bring someone else to pay and stay in the apartment. I tried to find someone. People are leaving for their countries. I found it difficult to find anyone. The landlord threatened to report me to the police. I approached the committee which ruled as per the amended law.”

More news from